Latest Blog Posts
As guests took their seats, John Williams' "Star Wars" score struck on the sound system and the room was flooded with Storm Troopers. Darth Vader took to the stage. Obviously, it was a tip of the hat to one of this year's Honorary Oscar recipients, James Earl Jones.
Anyway, Vader hit the podium, removed his masked to reveal -- wait, it wasn't David Prowse at all. It was Academy president Tom Sherak. "How was your week," he quipped to the audience. Fair play, sir (even if he did recycle the joke from earlier in the week at a screening of "The Great White Hope" in honor of Jones). Casual. Light. Way to take it in stride after a five- or six-day spread few would want to endure. (And poor Dawn Hudson -- apparently she had some sleepless nights over the whole Ratner/Murphy brouhaha.)
Another Saturday, another Cinejabber – your space to kick around whatever film-related thoughts you fancy, while we seek life beyond the movie theater.
Or, you know, not. My weekend is shaping up to be very cinema-bound indeed, with a rather schizophrenic to-do (or to-see) list combining art and trash, recalling nothing so much as the critical adage of playing both brows against the middle. It begins on a noble note: I’ll be wallowing this afternoon in all 190 minutes of the digitally restored Marcel Carné opus “Les Enfants du Paradis” at London’s invaluable BFI Southbank.
From there on, my plans get slightly less respectable, as I’m hoping to catch two new releases whose press screenings I napped on. One of them I feel little need to apologize for: Tarsem had me at hello with his wildly underappreciated (and frankly just wild) fantasy thriller “The Cell,” which you may or may not remember was robbed of every design award going in 2000, so there’s no way I’m not seeing him indulge his mask fixation to the nth degree and the third dimension in “Immortals.”
"The Adventures Of Tintin" is a preposterously fun movie, first and foremost, regardless of what technology was used to make it. It is very old-fashioned in storytelling terms, but cutting-edge in the way it's told. It tells a rough-and-tumble adventure story that is more real-world than much of what Hollywood makes these days, but it's animated in a way that removes it from reality completely. It is a film that seems to hinge on a number of contradictions, and that friction is just one of the reasons I really loved the experience.
Much has been written about how long Steven Spielberg's been interested in making a film version of Herge's long-running comic series, and one of the biggest questions that I've heard repeatedly is "Why would he do it as a performance capture animated film?" I think the first answer to that question is obvious after you see the movie and you see Snowy, Tintin's canine sidekick, in action. Snowy is a major character in the film, and has an outsized personality. Trying to get the same performance out of a real dog in the middle of a film also involving stunts and special effects and international travel would be a nightmare, and as it is, Snowy is one of the main highlights of the movie now. Also, there is a sense of scale and abandon to the way the action is staged in the film that would be a nightmare to orchestrate in live-action, and I think working in animation has set Spielberg free in a way I'm not sure we've ever seen from him before.
Ultimately, though, the tools used wouldn't matter if the film was no fun.
And this film is nothing but fun.
Mac Miller is getting ready to take over the world, or at least the Billboard 200, next week as the rapper’s “Blue Slide Park,” on indie Rostrum, looks like a lock for No. 1 with projected sales of 180,000 copies.
Haven’t heard of him? His video for “Donald Trump” has already garnered more than 34 million views on YouTube and he was the subject of a Billboard cover story a few weeks back.
We're up to the fourth episode of "Boss" now, and I don't have a lot to say about "Slip" that hasn't come up in our discussions of the previous three episodes. Kelsey Grammer's tremendous and the reason I keep tuning in, while certain other aspects (the sex, Kane's magical hitman, the symbolism-drenched monologues) frequently border on cartoonish (if not fall over into it).
Halfway through this eight-episode first season (which has been so low-rated that everyone involved has to be glad Chris Albrecht ordered a second season before they even premiered), how's everybody feeling about the (mis)adventures of Mayor Tom Kane and friends?
Remember when there were six major record companies? I do. And it wasn’t that long ago. As of today (pending approvals), we’re down to three.
Embattled EMI Group, which has been waiting for a suitor, any suitor, to pluck it out of Citigroup’s hands following the Terra Firma fiasco, is being divvied up into two pieces: Vivendi’s Universal Music Group will buy the recording division for $1.9 billion, while Sony/ATV has purchasing the publishing assets for $2.2 billion.
Warner Music Group, which, itself, was sold earlier this year to Access Industries, and which had danced around EMI for years, took itself out of the running for EMI’s recorded music arm the last week. EMI CEO Roger Faxon tried very hard to have the whole company sold as one piece and to remain a stand-alone business, as its recent sales have allowed. Not this time.
So what happens next? First off, these things never run smoothly so expect some hitches. While at Billboard, I witnessed both Universal’s then-parent Seagram’s purchase of Polygram in 1998 (for $10.4 billion, by the way) and the Sony/BMG merger, which started in 2004, and culminated in Sony buying out BMG in 2008. They are bloody messes even in the best of times.
A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I replace my backup juicer...
The people of Wichita, Kansas have taken issue with Johnny Depp. Or, more accurately, certain members of the film community in the city have responded to a comment the actor made that seemed to disparage the intelligence level of the citizens of Wichita at large.
In a recent interview with The Guardian to promote the UK release of “The Rum Diary,” the actor appeared to theorize that the reason the adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel is not performing well in the states is that the American appetite for thought-provoking films is limited. "I believe that this film, regardless of what it makes in, you know, Wichita, Kansas, this week – which is probably about $13 – it doesn't make any difference,” he said. “I think it's an intelligent film…And a lot of times, outside the big cities in the States, they don't want that."
The implication is, of course, threefold. One, that there is some categorical and static standard that defines an “intelligent film”; two, that Depp’s “The Rum Diary” meets said standard; and three, that the citizens of the United States (outside of the larger urban areas) are simply not interested in cerebral nutritious cinematic fare.
Metal pioneers Black Sabbath are reuniting with the original lineup and hitting the road, more than 40 years after the band's inception.
Guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, bass player Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward are plotting a world tour as well as a new album, as they announced at a press conference today. The band will headline England's Download Festival in June 2012 and then head out.
Rick Rubin has been tapped to produce a new effort, the same role he had when the band made their first go at reuniting back at the end of the '90s and into the new millennium. If the album's completed, it will be Rubin's first for the band.
Black Sabbath hasn't released an album of all-new material with that lineup since 1978's "Never Say Die!"; Osbourne was fired that following year, and replaced by Ronnie James Dio. Thus, the inaugural quartet left eight studio albums in their wake.
Sabbath made their last concerted, formal reunion starting in 1997/1998, an earnest but ultimately doomed attempt at becoming a full band again. Bill Ward had a heart attack while they were on tour. Iommi pursued putting out his first solo album while Ozzy worked on a couple of his own, setting the band back on what was thought to be a temporary hiatus. The MTV's "The Osbournes" was permanently conscripted into Ozzy's life and that was that, in 2002. To show for it: 1998's decent and mostly live album "Reunion," which included two new studio tracks, with one that thankfully showed some spark ("Psycho Man").
Black Sabbath, without contest, is among one of the most influential rock bands of all time, trailblazers for metal, helping in defining an era of post-Beatles British music and yielding a template of heavy music frontmen. I am a great admirer of the band; and I won't be the first or last fan to say, that this reunion just seems sad.